JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Experts have warned of the toxic chemicals used to fireproof sofas and mattresses that have caused thyroid cancer cases to surge by 74 percent.
The toxic chemicals used in flame retardants are suspected to trigger cancer, as the retardants are exposed through dust from fireproof sofas and mattresses.
Although the chemicals have been restrained, experts warn that it was not enough.
This comes after a British government civil servant repeatedly warned about the potential hazards of chemicals related to fire safety policies on furniture.
"Flame retardant has led to thousands of cancer and other diseases, in which children are especially vulnerable," said Terry Edge, a former official of the Department of Business, Energy, and Industry Strategy, as quoted from Daily Mail.
Thyroid cancer cases have jumped 74% in the last 10 years in Britain, where United States (US) investigators blamed it on an increase in flame retardant usage.
After analyzing household dust and taking blood samples from patients with thyroid cancer, scientists from Duke University found that the thyroid cancer patients had been highly exposed to a flame retardant called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).
The substance was banned in 2004, but still lingers in the homes of people who have bought furniture before the ban was placed.
The cancer patients also had higher levels of TCEP, a flame retardant that was banned 16 years ago.
Both chemicals are associated with cancer because they interfere with hormones.
DecaBDE, the most widely used chemical PBDE, are not prohibited but its usage is highly restricted.
In addition, Dr. Heather Stapleton said to the Sunday Times, "The chemicals come out as household dust and enter our body through food and our hands, with the highest level present is in children."
The effects obtained from the flame restardant is associated with learning problems, low sperm counts and trouble conceiving.
The substance is used in sofas, mattresses and carpets. A spokesman for the British National Bed Federation said the use of DecaBDE will be banned.
"We will continue to push for more control," said a spokesman for Defra.